An Ambassador’s job would be great, but the climate in Baghdad surely is best avoided

May 28, 2015

Dunno what James Munro has done to blot his copy book.

But the poor bugger is being despatched to Baghdad as our ambassador.

Frankly, Alf would have been inclined to give the job to someone like Winston Peters, to get him out of our hair.

Any one of umpteen greenies or lefties should also have considered.

But no. Foreign Minister Murray McCully today announced New Zealand will be opening an Embassy in Baghdad, and it will be headed by career diplomat James Munro.

“As signalled when the decision to deploy to Iraq was announced, the Government has now finalised arrangements to open a permanent mission in Baghdad,” Mr McCully says.

“Our resident Ambassador will be charged with supporting New Zealand’s non-combat training mission to Iraq and assessing how we can better support and build relations with the Iraqi government.

“The New Zealand Embassy will be co-located within the Australian Embassy in Baghdad and Mr Munro will arrive there next week.

“In addition to leading New Zealand’s engagement with the Iraq government and providing diplomatic support to the training mission, our Embassy will also be responsible for maintaining relations with the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.

“Mr Munro, the Ambassador designate to Baghdad, is an Arabic speaker and former military officer who has previously been posted to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh,” Mr McCully says.

The appointment has been made within days of Islamic State seizing control of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province just 110km from Baghdad.

Fallujah, located between, is already a terror stronghold.

Whether diplomatic support for our training mission is what they need is a good question.

Alf is minded that some commentators are musing that the fall of Baghdad to Islamic State would harm American strategic interests as the fall of Saigon did in 1975. The blow to US credibility and the enhancement of ISIS’s prestige, of its black flag rising over an evacuated US embassy, would be incalculable.

Fair to say, the article from which this was quoted went on to advise the Americans on what they could and should do to keep Baghdad from falling to ISIS.

But the job of NZ Ambassador doesn’t sound too tempting. Alf enjoys a warm climate but not one as hot as Baghdad’s.